Media Tip Sheet: Bucknell Back to School Story Ideas

LEWISBURG, Pa. – The following are Bucknell University story ideas that may interest you during the summer.

STAFFING STUDENT NEEDS – The mental health of students has quickly become an issue of importance for many colleges. According to the most recent Healthy Minds Study, an annual report on mental health on college and university campuses, one-third of undergraduate students in the United States wrestle with some kind of mental health issue, while more than 10% struggle with thoughts of suicide. To keep up with the increasing need for counseling, Bucknell’s Counseling & Student Development Center (CSDC) moved away from having part-time staff about four years ago and was able to hire an additional counselor. The current eight full-time counselor/psychologists include a 24-hour on-call counselor. This fall, Bucknell will also welcome a multicultural specialist and a counselor with LGBTQ expertise. “In the last two years we’ve trained over a 1,000 faculty, staff and students in supporting students in distress and suicide prevention through the use of an online, interactive module and in-person workshops. We also continue to sponsor our Mindfulness Menu which includes programs like the therapy dogs, yoga for mental health, and collaborations with the 7th Street Studio & MakerSpace,” said Kelly Kettlewell, CSDC director. CONTACT: Kettlewell, 570-577-1604, kdk011@bucknell.edu.

ANT-MAN – Continuing research led by biology professor Greg Pask studying how pheromones control reproduction regulation and other social activities in ant communities is now taking place in Pask’s Bucknell lab. For the research, Pask developed a technique so ant olfactory receptors could be tested in genetically-modified fruit flies. Pask inserted the DNA of ant receptors into the fly genome and so the ant receptor would be expressed in fly antennae. The Bucknell researchers measure their responses to each pheromone by inserting an electrode into the fly antenna and listening to its activity through the use of a guitar amp, measuring different responses as different pheromones are puffed over the fly. They have also created a DIY device to automatically record ant behavior and control lighting. Examples of what they have recorded can be found in video and photos. CONTACT: Pask, 570-577-1148, g.pask@bucknell.edu.

BALANCING THE STEM FIELD – Angling to help retain talented, economically disadvantaged students in the physical sciences, Bucknell created its Physical Sciences Scholars Program with a $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation. As many as 30 exceptionally qualified students may receive scholarships of as much as $10,000 a year under the five-year program, which begins in earnest this fall. The program is striving for a balance and increase of biophysics, chemistry, environmental geosciences, geology and physics majors. Bucknell is using the effort to better understand this science-interested group of economically disadvantaged students, many of whom otherwise might be more prone to throw in the towel on a STEM education, university data show. CONTACT: JiaJia Dong, physics & astronomy, jiajia.dong@bucknell.edu (only available via email)

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CONTACTS: Mike Ferlazzo, 570-577-3212, 570-238-6266 (c), mike.ferlazzo@bucknell.edu; Nathan Madden, 570-577-3651, ndm006@bucknell.edu

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